The True Cost of Public Education – by Cato

Once again, I believe my friends at the Cato Institute are misleading their audience.

They have a video, and article, and paper about the real price tag of a public school. In the video, at 15 seconds, “In many cases it seems the school district does not want you to see the real price tag.”

No argument from me. I believe we tax payers have a right to know how much and on what the government spends our tax dollars. I believe the information should be easily available, as an overview, and in more detail. I believe, thanks to the tubes of the internet, that this is the case.

Cato goes after school districts that have a stated per-pupil spending, don’t figure in all capital expenditures. Then, at 2 minutes 16 seconds, Cato puts up tuition prices from some private schools, implying that the tuition is the true cost.

It’s not.

Stone Ridge School for the Sacred Heart, states, “Fundraising is a vital part of the Stone Ridge learning environment, as tuition alone does not cover the full cost to educate students.

Georgetown Prep admits, “Tuition covers only two-thirds of the cost of educating a student at Prep” and “This support includes not only financial contributions, but volunteer work as well.”

If Cato were being honest, as they wish that public school districts were, Cato would point out that the tuition is not the true cost of educating a child at a private school.

Also, private schools can do things public schools can’t. Exclude poor students. There is admissions testing at Stone Ridge, and Georgetown Prep says for admission usually a student has a B+ average, and scores in the 90th percentile on the SSAT. Would Cato prefer public schools to be exclusive?

Stone Ridge and Georgetown also focus on the spiritual growth of their students. Would Cato want a public school to do that?

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